The Vaccination programme run from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is marking a milestone this week – 12 months since the first person on the Fylde Coast was vaccinated.
On December 8, 2020, 82-year-old Agnes Lovatt became the first person in the area to be vaccinated with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine as the Trust helped to launch the UK’s vaccination programme.
Since then, the vaccination hub set up at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has given more than 50,000 vaccination doses including more than 21,000 first doses, more than 21,000 second doses, and more than 9,000 boosters.
These vaccinations have included members of the public, trial participants, health and social care staff, care home staff, community care workers and people who are immunocompromised.
Now, following the announcement that the Government is set to make boosters available to more people to protect them against the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, the hub is preparing for a busy winter.
Susan Wild, programme lead, vaccination and testing at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “The hospital was among the first in the country to set up a vaccination hub and begin offering the vaccine to the public.
“It takes a minimum of 12 staff, both operational and clinical, to run the unit each day and since then we’ve had more than 70 different staff members work in the unit. These have included staff from across the Trust: including people who have retired and returned to help, and colleagues who have been redeployed from elsewhere. It’s been a real team effort.
“The vaccination rollout has had a significant impact – the UK Health Security Agency estimates that, as of 24 September, more than 125,000 deaths and 24 million infections have been prevented as a result of the programme. It’s a real privilege to have played a part in that.
“Our staff from the vaccination hub have some wonderful memories of the support they’ve been able to offer people – we’ve been able to reassure vulnerable patients, support elderly people at the start of the pandemic who had missed having face-to-face contact so much, and it was great to see all the volunteer blood bikers and have the opportunity to thank them for their work.
“The vaccination programme across Lancashire and South Cumbria is once again expecting to step up over the winter after the Government announced it would be making vaccinations and boosters available to more cohorts of people soon, so we are getting ready to support this in any way we can. We’ve got an experienced team who are ready for the challenge.”